How Long Does It Take For Enamel Paint To Dry? (It Depends)

Enamel paint can take a while to dry, but it differs depending on factors like temperature and humidity. 

If you mistake enamel paint as dry before it's ready, you could ruin all the maximum hardness work you've just done. 

With a bit of understanding of long does it take for enamel spray paint takes to dry and what impacts it puts on paint to dry, you can plan out your diy projects – no mess-ups necessary. 

Oil based enamel paint types is used to paint a variety of objects. Paint dries to a hard and glossy finish, glass-like finish, can hold its color well over time, is generally resistant to yellowing, and sticks well to various surfaces. 

If you're painting with oil-based enamel, you can speed up the drying time by adding Japan Drier. It contains a metallic salt - usually cobalt - that increases the rate of oxidation of the oils in the paint.

Enamel paint is different from acrylic or latex paints because they are  oil based paints, also known as solvent-based paint, while both latex and acrylic paints are water-based.

While latex paint and acrylic paints can be cleaned up with water based paint and other solvent-based paints require special solvents to thin and clean them up. 

It also dries harder and is more durable than the other two options. Water based paints are usually used for projects that require a lot of durability, such as painting a car or a bike or painting outdoors or anything. 

It's a great option to use on metal surfaces painted, glass, plastic, wood, or walls. 

Enamel paints takes at least 24 hours to fully dry on a wood surface but may take up to 48 hours. It takes up to 2-3 days to dry paint on a metal surface or painted surface.

If you're painting concrete with enamel paints, plan to give it up to 7 days to dry thoroughly. 

Brush Painting with Red Enamel

Factors Affecting Enamel Paint Drying Time

There are a few things that can affect how long enamel type paint takes to dry.

Things like temperature, humidity, and the thickness of the paint can all make drying time longer or shorter. It's important to know these factors so you can plan your project correctly. Chalk paint is one of the fastest drying paints.

If you're experiencing problems with enamel paints not drying, there are a few things you can do to try and speed up the process. Some of the factors that can impact the drying time include: 

  • Temperature:
    The best temperature to apply enamel type paint is between 50°F to 90°F. If it's too cold temperatures , the oil based enamel paint won't dry properly and will take much longer than usual. If it's too hot, the oil based enamel paint will dry too quickly and can result in a poor finish.
  • Humidity:
    High humidity levels can slow down the drying time. If you're painting in an area with high humidity, you might want to consider using a slower-drying enamel paint or adding a retarder to the paint to help it dry more slowly.
  • Ventilation:
    Good ventilation will help oil based enamel style paint dry faster.
  • The thickness of paint:
    The thicker the fresh paint coat of enamel painting, the longer it will take to dry.

While you won't be able to control things like temperature and humidity, you can control how much ventilation the painted item has and how thickly you lay on the paint. 

Window Frame Painting with White Enamel

How Long Should You Let Enamel Paint Dry In Between Coats?

The enamel type paint usually requires two coats for a proper finish. One coat might be a bit too thin, so for full coverage, opt for at least two. Any more, and you will notice drying time takes much longer, so keep that in mind. 

If possible, you should wait at least 12 hours after the first coat of enamel type paint dries before applying the second coat If not, wait until the paint is at least tacky enough to not be smudged by the touch of your finger or synthetic brush. 

One reason it's important to wait for enamel or any other paint to dry fully between coats is that if you don't, the wet paint could smudge, and you'll have to start all over again. 

Its drying time also depends on the type of surface, and how many coats you used.

Additionally, if you apply the next coat of enamel type paint before the previous paint to dry, it will create a film on top of the wet paint and won't allow the paint to properly adhere or fully cured or complete curing process, resulting in a poor finish that won't last as long. 

Enamel paint is hardened in a process known as ‘curing'. What happens is that your enamel paint, once it is exposed to oxygen, starts a chemical process. During this process, a binder agent in the paint begins to make the overall enamel harder over what is generally a 30-day period.

How To Make The Enamel Paint Dry Faster? (Speeding Up Tips)

There are a few things you can do to help enamel and other paints dry faster. Some tips include: 

  • Make sure the temperature is between 50°F and 90°F 
  • Apply thin coats of enamel type paint rather than one thick coat 
  • Apply enamel type paint in a well-ventilated area 
  • If you can, avoid painting in high humidity conditions 
  • Warm the surface before applying the coating 

First, pick the right time to paint with enamel. The winter isn't ideal, since temperatures tend to sit below 50º, and ventilation is key.

Applying enamel paint in a well-ventilated area will also help the paint to spread more evenly. Painting in a ventilated area is also recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

You don't want to paint a cold item - if you can warm it first, the paint curing process or fully cured becomes faster. 

Finally, if you're experiencing problems with enamel painting not drying, applying thin coats of enamel type paint can help to speed up the process. 

Frequently Asked Enamel Paint Drying Questions 

Why does enamel paint stay sticky? 

Enamel paint can stay sticky if the environment has too much moisture in it or if the temperature is too low or too high. It could also be related to a tin that wasn't mixed well before using or an unclean surface that you're painting on. 

How soon can you sand enamel paint? 

You should wait at least 24 hours before sanding enamel paint to ensure it's dry, though certain materials such as metal or concrete may take longer to dry. 

Does enamel paint need a primer? 

Yes, enamel paints need primers to adhere properly. to surfaces.

Can you dry enamel paint with a hairdryer? 

If the paint is still tacky after 24 hours, you can try using a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Try to keep it between 50º-90º for best results. 


Enamel type paint can take a while to dry, and many factors can affect how long it takes. If you're having problems with enamel type paint not drying, there are a few things you can do to try and speed up the process. 

Ensure proper ventilation and temperature, keep your coats thin, and wait long enough in-between coats for best results.